BUS 174 (2002)

Bus 174 analyzes a hijacking and hostage situation that took place inside a public transportation bus, Bus 174, in Rio de Janerio on June 12th, 2000. The documentary, which was released in 2002, focuses on those involved directly in the event at hand. Most importantly the highjacker, “Sandro do Nascimento”, the hostages, and the police. Because the event was broad casted live on Brazilian television networks, the images displayed are entirely accurate and the reality of the situation to be more fully experienced by the viewer. Besides using live camera footage, there many other important elements that went into the making this documentary. Provided testimonials and interviews from those who had close personal ties and experiences with Sandro, accounts from the hostages and the police who tried to diffuse the situation, Bus 174 is able to put together an extremely insightful look into the situation. As well as provide evidence and possible explanations into why this event occurred the way it did.

In “A Drive-By Victim”, a true story by Alberto Salcedo Ramos, the reader is presented with a personal account of a taxi ride in Columbia that goes horribly wrong. Very similar to the events that occurred on Bus 174, for instance what it feels like to be taken hostage, have one’s own life be threatened physically and emotionally, and essentially robbed, the story also has another distinguishable characteristic that the Bus 174 documentary acknowledges. A displayed surprise sense of compassion and emotionality of gratitude towards the offender or hijacker. The author, Ramos, describes a feeling of some kind of emotional tie with the men who robbed him once the situation has ended. Stating, “But when they let me go, on Thirteenth Street, toward the south side of the city, I felt great gratitude toward them. If I didn’t shake their hands and invite them to breakfast the next day, it was because I wasn’t brave enough.” (“A Drive-By Victim” by Alberto Salcedo Ramos) This is extremely interesting. If one were to break the event down, Ramos was left at the mercy of his attackers and knew that he had absolutely no control over his own life. The offenders broke him down to such an immense level of in-superiority he was entitled to think that it could this could possibly be his last moment. But he states when one of the offenders had gotten out of the cab to retrieve his money, the mood in the cab shifted. They let him know that it was almost over and he had cooperated well. Ramos states, “I think that if the lunatic on the left hadn’t gotten out of the car, his two accomplices wouldn’t have used their consoling tone, which offered me some comfort.” (“A Drive-By Victim” by Alberto Salcedo Ramos) This same sense of pity and emotional compassion towards the hijacker in Bus 174 is also portrayed. The case for this most inevitably, is the uncontrollable emotions and rush one undergoes in a situation like this. Once you figure out that you are going to be okay, the anger towards the offender for ever even being put in the situation is replaced with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for being set free.

Pertaining to the sense of gratitude towards an attacker, there is an extreme irony in Bus 174 dealing with this. As the event is taking place, the hostages are told by Sandro to “act” more in danger and threatened for police  and media presence, contrary to what is actually is occurring and being said inside the bus. One of the hostages, when interviewed, states that she made a connection with Sandro and knew that he wasn’t going to kill anyone as he has threatened. The hostage tries to tell another hostage this, by trying to console her and tell her that Sandro wasn’t going to kill her. But ultimately, in the end, she is accidently shot, once by a squat team member and twice by Sandro.

In the article, “The Heart That Bleeds” by Alma Guillermoprieto, it was very hard to make a connection between the article and the documentary Bus 174. The article addresses the importance of the “ranchera” music and its traditionalistic quality within Mexican culture. Also the changing times and the loss of tradition that is being replaced with outside international values and modernization. It may be possible to make a connection in a sense that a confusion is taking place and a loss of values, that essentially once made up certain aspects in Mexican culture. This can be tied in with the urbanization of Rio de Janerio, those who are unable to continue living the ways in which they did, are being swept under the rug and casted out or ignored by the changing times and “hustle and bustle” of urbanization.

Overall, Bus 174 analyzes very well an extremely riveting and tragic historical event. Not only does it enable awareness on many of the different issues and problems within Rio de Janerio and Brazilian society, it also allows the audience to feel an appreciation for their own everyday situations and to realize things could be much worse.